Book of Alchemy

Alchemy -12

Lesson 12

The Key to the Ancient Arts

 

    This Chapter 12 is the Key.  The Key to the Ancient Arts.  That illustrious and much sought for gem, the Priceless Pearl, hunted by rulers, kings and queens of nations and cults.  That which is withheld from all men for only those who have gone beyond being adults and have become once more the children of Christ and the Creator may understand the Mother Goose rhymes of Alchemy.

 

    Only the child who may encase himself into the rhymes and stories of fairyland may truly become the Alchemist.  For within the walls of the thirteen rooms of the castle of the Alchemist abides the simple building blocks of Creation.  For within that house, no time exists and for within those walls, no space is needed.  For he knows no bounds or time or place for the only image he sees is the smile on his God’s face for the Sun never sets and the stars always shine as he sets about to write his rhyme.  It is the rhyme of time.

 

    This Being again unfolding its power to the Sons of God bringing forth their imaginary wings of old, teaching man the way of the rose to unfold.  Showing the way to the Cross on high, teaching him however nigh.  The Host in White that work by day and night are ever present and at his side.  That all nature and the elements are as real to him as an unfurled sail in a seaman’s life.  For the storm he creates is his to bid its presence or to go.  His life he knows he uses to go to and fro.  For he who reads these lines of mine shall think me silly or know the Divine.

 

Four elements – I

 

    The four elements are said to be the Earth, Air, Fire, and Water of the Wise – that is to say, four types of activity.  They are represented in the notation of esoteric science by four different types of triangle.

 

    Fire is represented by a triangle point upwards; Air by a similar triangle with a bar across it, thus indicating that Air may be esteemed as akin in nature to Fire, but denser.

 

    In fact, we might call Air – negative Fire; or Fire – positive Air.

 

    Water is represented by a triangle point downwards, and Earth by the same triangle with a bar across it; and to these two symbols the same principles apply as to their predecessors.

 

    Consider the Fire triangle as representing unconditioned force, and the Air triangle as representing conditioned force, the Earth triangle as representing totally inert form and the Water triangle as representing an active type of form; this is another mode of classification.

 

    In ancient myths the air or space-god is parent of the sun, celestial fire, and water is the matrix of earth.  This comes out clearly on the Central Pillar on the Tree of Life, where Kether, space, overshadows Tiphareth, the sun-center; and the watery Yesod the moon-center, overshadows the earthy Malkuth.

 

    The First Matter is said to be four, because it is expressed as the four elements: Fire, Water, Air and Earth.  These are really subtle, invisible entities, and should not be understood to signify anything limited to the physical plane.

 

    The four “elements” are really not elements as science recognizes them.  They are rather principles of nature or the fundamental manifestation of nature.

 

    Matter manifests in four principle expressions, and these are called principles.

       

   An element of matter is the smallest particle of the ultimate form of matter, and the four represent four phases of matter.

 

    For example, the four elements enter into the fruit of an orange.  Fire and air enter the top, and water and earth (diluted chemicals) enter the roots.  Together they join to form the fruit which succeeds the bridal bloom.  Also lemons.

 

    Paracelsus believed that each of the four primary elements known to the ancients as Fire, Water, Air and Earth, consisted of a subtle, vaporous principle, and a gross corporeal substance.

 

    The term elements has been applied to the lower, or physical, phases of these four primary principles, and the name elemental essences to their corresponding invisible, spiritual constitutions.

 

    Minerals, plants, animals, and men live in a world composed of the gross side of these four elements, and from various combinations of them construct their living organisms.

 

    If we analyze this material point at which all life starts, we shall find it to consist of a clear structureless, jelly-like substance resembling albumen or white of egg.  It is made of Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, and Nitrogen.  Its name is protoplasm.  And it is not only the structural unit with which all living bodies start in life, but with which they are subsequently built up.  Protoplasm, simple or nucleated, is the formal basis of all life.  It is the clay of the Potter.  (The foregoing is quoted from the opinions of three writers on the subject.)

 

    Paracelsus spoke of flesh as two kinds.  The first was that which we have all inherited from Adam, the visible and corporeal flesh.  The second was that which had not descended from Adam, and being more attenuated, was not subject to the limitations of the former.

 

    Storms:  (Thumbnail science)

 

The heat of the sun warms the air at earth level.

 

As the warm air rises, it carries moisture with it.

 

The moisture-laden air expands and gets colder as it rises, and becomes visible as a cloud.

 

Drops of water form within the cloud. 

 

As these drops are swept upward by the rising air, they become heavier and finally fall as the first large raindrops.

 

The cloud empties its moisture content as rain. 

 

Positive and negative electrical charges accumulate in clouds to cause lightning.

 

    The Four Elements in Man:

 

In common life, it is the animal spirits which give trouble in fire signs;

 

the habits and moods in water signs;

 

the lack of aspiration and breadth of interest in earth;

 

and the lack of common sense and perspective in air.

 

    In Physics

 

Fire:  The fiery quality is the magnetic virtue of a substance.  Fire particles are tetrahedral, the simplest, and hence the lightest solid.

 

Water:  The water quality is its ductability.  Its particles are ecosahedral (reverse reason from fire).

 

Air:  The airy quality is conductivity; Air particles are octahedral (between fire and water.)

 

Earth:  The earthy quality is weight and hardness.  Earth particles being cubical; the solid of greatest stability.

 

    The first three are spiritual forms of pure energy.  They crystallize out in a fourth element called earth.  Tau.

 

  The water element of the ancient philosophers has been metamorphosed into the hydrogen of modern science; the air has become oxygen; the fire, nitrogen; the earth, carbon.

 

    The senses – From Yoga philosophy we learn that fire is the subtle principle of touch, and earth the subtle principle of smell.

 

    As properties Each principle has also a characteristic property.  The property of fire is expansion; that of water is contraction; that of air is locomotion; and that of earth is cohesion.  Every principle has also a characteristic taste quality.  Fire is hot and pungent; water is cool, astringent, bitter; air is acid, sour and sharp; earth is sweet.

 

 

    In Cabala

 

I        Fire          Light          Wands               Staff               to will 

 

H     Water                           Cups                                        to know

 

V       Air                              Swords                                    to dare

 

H       Earth        Food          Pentacles – talisman              to be silent                

 

   The Four Elements symbolizing forces that rule the earth:

 

Fire:          Power of command.     Government.                           Unity

 

Water:      Offering.                       The priesthood.                       Beauty or mercy

 

Air:           Discernment.                Meting out justice.  Military.     Truth

 

Earth:        Material forces.           Intellectual activity.                  Goodness

 

     The four elements are of Light, Airiness, Fluidity, and Solidity.

 

Fire           flowers in children and creations.  Sunshine and affect.           Child.

 

Water        flowers in seed of Life (emotional, or sexual fulfillment)         purified soul.

 

Air            flowers in mental maturity, and Christ, and man.                      Man.

 

Earth         flowers in agricultural fruits, and all material things.                Tree of life.

 

 

 

 

 

The four elements – II

 

Quintessence

 

     Man is a microcosm, or little world, because he is an extract from all the stars and planets, the earth and the elements -- so he is their quintessence.

 

    The four elements are the universal world, and from these man is constituted – then is he the fifth, or quintessence, beyond the four elements out of which he has been extracted as a nucleus.

 

  Quintessence is the pure, concentrated essence of a substance – the most perfect embodiment of something.  (A conglomeration of “things” is nothing; but out of the nameless “nothings”, something can be made.)

 

    

                                                                                                                    The alchemical symbol for Quintessence is   

 

     “God took the body out of which He built up man from those things which He created from nothingness into something.  That mass was the extract of all creatures in heaven and earth, just as if one should extract the Soul or spirit, and should take that spirit or that body.

 

   “For example, man consists of flesh and blood, and besides that of a Soul, which is the man, much more subtle than the former.

 

    “In this manner, from all creatures, all elements, all stars in heaven and earth, all properties, essences, and natures, that was extracted which was most subtle and most excellent in all, and this was united into one mass.

 

    “From this mass, man was afterwards made.  Hence man is now a microcosm, or a little world, because he is an extract from all the stars and planets of the whole firmament, from the earth and the elements; and so he is their quintessence.

 

    “The four elements are the universal world, and from these man is constituted.  In number, therefore, he is fifth, that is, fifth or quintessence, beyond the four elements out of which he has been extracted as a nucleus.

 

    “But between the macrocosm and the microcosm this difference occurs, that the form, image, species, and substance of man are diverse therefrom.  In man the earth is the flesh, the water is blood, fire is the heat thereof, and air is the balsam.

 

    “These properties have not been changed, but only the substance of the body.  So man is man, not a world, yet made from the world, made in the likeness, not of the world, but of God.  Yet man comprises in himself all the qualities of the world.

 

    “Whence the Scripture rightly says we are dust and ashes, and into ashes we shall return; that is, although man, indeed is made in the image of God, and has flesh and blood, and is not like the world, but more than the world, still, nevertheless, he is earth and dust and ashes.  And he should lay this well to heart lest from his figure he should suffer himself to be led astray; but he should think what he has been, what he is now, and what hereafter he shall be.”

 

    Akasha (Cabala) 

 

    This same Quintessence is sometimes called Akasha.

 

    Only a small proportion of the existing mind-stuff of the universe is organized into the brains and nervous systems of sentient creatures.  The vast mass of what we call mind-stuff is free-moving upon what occultists call the astral plane, organized into forms within itself, but not necessarily attached to matter.

 

    Out of this mind-stuff are formed the moulds of all forms; and within these moulds are built up the framework of etheric stresses that function in the sphere of Yesod, and within which are held the molecules of matter which form the body of manifestation on the physical plane.

 

    Normally these forms are built by the cosmic consciousness expressed as natural forces, functioning each according to its nature; but as consciousness began to develop in the creatures of the Creator, it exercised its function upon the astral mind-stuff, which was amenable to the influences of consciousness.

 

    Yesod or “Foundation” is the sphere of that peculiar substance, partaking of the nature of both mind and matter, which is called the Ether of the Wise, the Akasha, or the Astral Light.

 

    It is not the same as the ether of the physicists, which is the fire element of the Sphere of Malkuth, “the world” but is to that ether what that ether is to dense matter; it is the basis of the phenomena which the physicist attributes to his empirical ether.  The Aether of the Wise might be called the root of the ether of physics.

 

    The four elements of the ancients find their explanation in a fifth, the Aether, as initiates have always maintained.  For any four visible states always have their root in a fifth, an invisible state.  (As the four Worlds have their root behind the Veils of the Unmanifest.)  Only by assigning certain attributes deduced from the manifest four as being essential to the prime cause, do we arrive at understanding of the nature of the four.  So in Yesod we find the unmanifest fifth of the four elements of Malkuth, the fire of the ancients answering to the ether of the moderns, and earth to solid; water to liquid; and air to gaseous states of matter.

 

    Yesod or Foundation too is the receptacle of all emanations from above, and the only transmitter of these emanations to the physical plane.  Its function is to purify the emanation, to prove and correct them.  Here too are carried out operations for correcting the sphere of dense matter.  Aether is the framework of matter and the vehicle of the life-forces, and only through manipulation of it can matters or designs of earth be worked upon.

 

 

the four elements –  iii

Fire

 

   Of the allegory of fire, let us say that the torment of your mind, the crying aloud of your conscience, the torture of your soul’s conviction as related to your sinful acts, constitutes the fire of hell and purgatory.

 

    The Voice of God, or the Cosmic Mind within you, decrying and chastising you when you have done wrong, is the fire of God or the fire of the heavens consuming your sin, purifying your Soul, purging your mind and refining your nature.

 

    Such hell-fire and such flames of purgatory are experienced here and now.

 

    Burn out the dross of selfishness, in order to become simple as children.

 

    Adam quality or condition of the person, called “red dust”, is just matter of God, as is food.

 

    Fire on the altar is fire in one’s own self burning flesh.  Flesh is conscience.  We judge ourselves.  Every night at the altar of self, offer up sacrifice.

 

    Magnesium, sulphur and phosphorous are a trinity.

 

    Let us burn the chaff with a fire that never goes out in our own body temples.  Let us put all our faults on the brazier and burn them away.  Then let us turn our backs on that, and offer up the tenth now, the tithe – the best of our hopes.  Then the other 9 parts are ours.

 

    Fire is the womb of manifestation from which all things are brought forth.  The Tree of Life is a symbolic diagram representing the “Son of a Woman” who is also “Son of Fire”, the Archetypal Man, or Grand Man, Architect of the Universe.  In Masonry, Hiram Abiff, Master Builder; in Christianity, Logos, or Word.

 

    The secret powers connected with the Serpent and the Anointed are fire, and all practical occultism has to do with right use of these fiery powers.

 

    “Salvation is of the Jews” – Judah, Leo, the serpent, fire, woman taming lion. The Tree is a diagram of the progressive stages in man’s mastery of fire. It shows the various relationships among the forms in which the One Fire manifests itself.  To know the Tree thoroughly is to know secret of Cosmic Fire.  To put knowledge into practice is true goal of all human endeavor.

 

    The only true Light is of God, and can only survive through acknowledging the Sun as its Source.  “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me”….not home, job, teacher, lover, child, goods, or social traditions, or family memories.

 

    In one place is written a seeming inconsistency:  “For the Lord thy God is a consuming Fire.  And again, ye that cleave unto the Lord your God are alive every one of you this day.”  (For He only consumes that which is of lower vibration.)

 

    It has been affirmed by the Companions that there exists a sort of fire which is stronger than other fire, and the one consumes and annihilates the other.  To pierce into the mystery of the holy unity of God, consider the flame, as it rises from a burning coal or candle.

 

    There must be material substance from which the flame rises.  In the flame itself may be seen two lights; the one white and glowing, the other black, or blue.  Of the two, the white light is the higher and rises unwavering.  Underneath is the blue or black light upon which the other rests as on a support.  The two are conjoined, the white reposing upon the throne of the black.

 

    The blue or black base is connected to something beneath which feeds and makes it cling to the white light above.  The lower light, at times black or blue or red, serves to link the white light above it with the material substance below to which it is bound, and by which it is kindled.  This lower light devours whatever comes near, but the white light above neither consumes nor demolishes, nor does it ever change.

 

    Fire is an agent of purging, purification, and regeneration, and has the highest of all rates of vibration: being more mysterious in origin and nature, it was sometimes called the “eye of God”.  By the use of high rates of vibrations we can change many things.  Fire is a great changer, solvent, or modifier of things in nature.  In burning solids, it transforms their chemical elements into gas, which passes off in invisible fumes.

 

    Fire is visible and invisible, discernible and indiscernible – a spiritual, ethereal flame manifesting through a material, substantial flame.

 

    The Soul, or vital principle, is fire, and the finer spiritual principle is light.  These are said to come from above to indicate the alchemical idea that physical forms are in truth condensations of superphysical forces.

 

  Fire is the most tenuous aspect of matter. Material particles being resistant and unresponsive in nature, only by working with elemental Fire can a response be obtained, and other elements in their turn influenced.

 

    This Fire is a kind of over-state of matter with which only the most advanced physics has any acquaintance.  A state of relationships, it might be called, rather than a thing itself.

 

    The Fire of Malkuth is that subtle electro-magnetic aspect of matter which is the link with the processes of consciousness and life.  Electrical phenomena corresponds to the element of Fire.

 

    Fire signs confer the type of consciousness which affects the will-to-be, and which makes the man say “I am that I am”.  Out of the fire signs come the dynamic, directing idea.

 

    Fire signs bring a tendency to too much emotional development, at expense of the other side of the nature.  These soar high, but often fall equally low, and strain too greatly upward.  The element of the wild irresponsible prophet, interested in lucky hits.

 

    Meditation on Fire:

 

“O Fire, thou art a great crucible in whose nature all things are purged of their impurities and returned again to their simple and pristine state.  The dross of sham drops from all that thou embracest and there is revealed the essence of the thing.”

 

1.  The mystical, symbolical significance of fire is its process of purging, purification, and regeneration, that through the flames or the heat may come a newer, better, and higher form of revealed existence.

 

2.  The body cannot be raised to a higher spiritual standard, or your consciousness raised to a higher degree of mystical or spiritual attainment, unless the body is gradually improved in its physical condition and the mind is also slowly and gradually developed in certain other ways.

 

3.  The soul, in its process of evolution, through our several incarnations, brings into each new incarnation the memory of past ones which, in other words, is simply a mark showing the stage of development the soul-personality has attained in its journey.

 

4.  The red corpuscles are cells with a nucleus.  They are dual, having two distinct polarities.  The nucleus is positive and the cell other than the nucleus is negative.

 

5.  There is a connecting link between spirit in matter and the mind of man.  In the beginning everything was created as the result of intelligence, and as man was created in the image of God, his mind has this certain power.

 

    Fire is one of the most mystifying principals of nature.  By “Principal” of nature we mean one of nature’s fundamental manifestations.  The four fundamental manifestations of nature are air, earth, fire and water.

 

    It is perhaps by fire that man has advanced himself to his present state more than through any one of the other manifestations.  It is perhaps due to the fact that he has found it more simple to control and direct, and has been able to apply it to his own needs more easily than the other manifestations of nature.

 

    How far back man discovered how to make fire is not definitely known.  It is generally believed that fire making existed as early as the second interglacial epoch or approximately 400,000 years ago.

 

    There are many theories advanced as to how man first discovered fire.  Some believe it came from smoldering volcanic embers which ignited dry leaves or grass near his habitat.  Others believe it due to an accidental rubbing together of dry sticks in the use of his early implements or weapons, the friction igniting dry grass or leaves.

 

    Regardless of how he first discovered fire, or how he learned to make it, it must have been a difficult process to continue it, because throughout our mythologies and as far back as we can trace the customs and rituals of primitive peoples, we find every care and concern being shown the central fire of their community or tribe to prevent it from being extinguished.  To have it extinguished was a calamity.

 

    This great importance attached to fire evolved it into a form of social symbolism.  Totem poles were erected in commemoration of the fire-god.  Fire was placed in the graves to warm the dead.

 

    The Calabrians take an oath by pinching flame between the fingers and swearing “By the light of God.”  Many primitive peoples, before partaking of a feast, threw morsels of the food into the fire to symbolize its purification before it was taken into their bodies.

 

    To further indicate their recognition of fire as a symbol of purification and of purging and of regeneration, many primitive peoples, and some of our highly advanced early civilizations, built large temples in which a fire was made and kept perpetually burning as a symbol of the purity of God.  The fire itself was not worshipped, but it was “a sign from heaven” that as fire changed the form and substance of earthly things, so the gods or God can change man’s nature and temperament.

 

    And in constant attendance at this fire were a number of young girls selected because of their beauty, who were virgins, and who were known as the Vestal Virgins; they too were symbols of purity of thought and act.  The place where these virgins were, and where the fire burned, was never defiled by any ungodly act or thought.

 

    The source of fire the primitive people attributed to many things, and in fact even today there are Hindu sects that attribute the source of all fire on earth to the sun, and they declare that fire is the earthly form of heavenly light, the eternal and divine on earth.  They believe that the life of all creatures is vital fire; so sacred is it to them that the breath of man’s mortal body should not defile it by his breathing upon it.

 

 

The four elements – iv

 

Water

 

    While the mystics worshipped water as a sacred Element, and always had a pool of water in each temple, and a large bowl of it on the altar, the uneducated called ea a god, and made him the god of the ocean, the deep, and ruler over all waters.

 

    From this mystic interpretation came the use of water in christening and baptism, and of Holy Water in the churches.

 

    The reason for this sound being used (ea, or “eh”), was because of its effect upon or power over the element of water in nature, and its power over the energy stored up in water.

 

    The letter e was used as a symbol in the Avesta language to represent this power, or god.  However, he was not intended to be worshipped as a deity, but a principle. Uneducated minds could not understand why mystics had alcoves in the Temples dedicated to certain principles, unless these were called gods.  So they erected temples to them.

 

    Water is a great solvent which consists of a dense fluid and a potential essence of fluidic nature.  Elemental Water, or the Water of the Wise, is just plain protoplasm.  Liquid is a state wherein particles move freely over each other.

 

    The letter e (in the Avesta) took the sound and power of the combined letters of ea.  This e sound as in “yet” was found to have power over, or effect upon, the water element in nature; because of its power over the energy stored up in water, the letter e was used in the Avesta to represent a god of water.  This god was later called ea.  The Babylonians built temples to the god ea, not understanding it as a principle, first intended.

 

    Water signs tend toward realization of consciousness concerned with feelings and sensations, so imaginative force becomes perfected and made amenable to Spirit.  They may be strangely attracted towards phenomenalism, seeking for signs and wonders and phenomena of the spiritist and self-styled magician, either pure deception or different from that which is being represented.  They sometimes endeavor to investigate past lives, for water loves the past as fire loves the future.

 

    Meditation on Water:

 

“O Water, thou art a flux in which the infinitesimal attributes of life are gathered and held in common bond.  In the garment of thy nature the cells of all things which swim, crawl, creep, fly, or walk are clothed.”

 

 

The four elements v

 

Air

 

    “The element of the air was appointed for no other purpose than to be the abode of the other three, each to be conserved, as it were, within its close in the following way.  The air encloses in itself every mortal thing, and shuts it off from what is immortal, as a wall divides a city from the fields.  It strengthens the world and keeps it together, as a dam does a marsh.  And just as there is nothing in an egg to one who looks at it from without, or outside the egg, which agrees with what is inside, so the sky is a shell dividing heaven and earth, just as the egg-shell separates the egg from what is outside it.

 

    “The air, again, is like a skin in which is stored up a body, the whole world, to wit, and wherein the earth is contained and preserved.  The air, then, is this sky, a skin, or eggshell, or wall, or mound, beyond which nothing can burst through, and within which nothing can break in.  Moreover the air is breath, from which all draw their life.  This is truly air itself, and puts forth the air which nourishes the four elements, and at the same time sustains the life of man.  Without it none could live.

 

    “Without this no element could advance, no wind could blow, no rain or snow could fall, no sun could shine, no summer could flourish, no water could flow, no earth could sustain.  All this force proceeds from the air, and is attracted by the four elements.

 

    “For as the lungs every moment inhale air, so does the earth, while the water and the fire each do the very same thing.  That is a palpable error which lays it down that winds are caused by the air.  They burst in upon us like poison, not as a means of life.  The first element brings air, but fire gives the winds.”

 

By Theophrastus Paracelsus, 1493

 

    Air is a gaseous state, in which the particles all try to get as far away from each other as possible, or to “diffuse”.

 

    Elemental Air may be called the capacity to achieve the relationships described as Fire, and thus act as the vital principle of physical life; for only as matter has capacity for organization is organic substance possible

 

    Air is twofold in nature – tangible atmosphere, and an intangible volatile substratum which may be termed spiritual air.

 

    Scientifically speaking Air is really neither an element nor a compound, but a mixture.

 

    Air is a substance and has weight.  At ordinary temperatures and pressures it weighs about 1.2 ounces per cubic foot.

 

    Air, piled up for many miles around the earth, exerts definite pressure upon the body.

   

    Air signs – establish expansion of consciousness through thought and mental forces, so the human being as a soul is seen apart and distinct from the animal or personal man.  Consolidation of thinking, and through concentration as a thinker, flowering of wisdom which produces knowledge of God.  The design of man’s divinity is realized through the avenue of air signs.

 

    They may express too great a devotion to intellectualism, resulting in a purely philosophical view of religion, and a tendency to regard all religiopsychological phenomena as subjects for rigid and abstract classification, whereas the soul is a living thing, which cannot be reduced to strict measurement or treated as purely static.

 

    Meditation on Air:

 

“O air, thou are the positive effluence.  On thy wings is borne Cosmic Consciousness.  Within thy substance is the means by which matter becomes aware of itself and ultimately realizes Divine Unity.  Thou art the eternal symbol of the invisible and all-pervading forces of the universe.”

 

 

The four elements – vi

 

Earth

 

    Earth is the end-result, or state of Earth, as coherence, with the completion of any given cycle.  It is the state of a solid, wherein particles composing it adhere firmly to each other.

 

    In earth a building of vehicle is completed, and the machinery of expression then becomes self-regulating.  Here is achieved stability, and inertia.

 

    Elemental Earth is inorganic matter.

 

    The material plane is called the outward and visible sign of invisible etheric activity.

 

    The forms of Yesod are no longer “dream-stuff”, for here they have picked up the material particles of Malkuth to embody their forms.  The physical particles are built into the frame work of the systems of stresses through the form-giving faculty of Yesod.

 

    Earth likewise has two essential parts – the lower being fixed, terreous, immobile; the higher, rarefied, mobile, and virtual.

 

    Earth signs – call out a condition of consciousness connected with physical reality.  Perfection of physical experience as the result of wise living is expressed in these signs.

 

    They may exhibit too great a pragmatism, “good works” being regarded as the essential, while the inner life is neglected.  The ideal of “common sense religion”, is allowed to expel the more delicate and profound aspect of the Ascent.

 

    Meditation on Earth

 

“O Earth, thou predominantly negative influence, all material form is thing offspring.  No gem is so rare, no flower so exotic, no mountain peak so majestic that it can renounce thee as its mother, or fail to return again to thy bosom.”

 

 

 

The four elements – vii

 

The Four Directions of Space

 

    In the Hebrew Old Testament, the right hand commonly denotes the south, as the left hand denotes the north.  For they speak of the quarters of the world in respect of themselves, having their faces turned towards the East, their backs to the West, their right hands to the South, and their left to the North.

 

    Thus Kedem, which signifies before, stands also for the East, and Achor, which signifies behind, marks out the West.  Jamin, the right hand, is the south, and Shemot the left hand is the north.

 

    Benjamin means, son of the right hand, or son of the south. 

 

    The Cube of Space give just the opposite directions, or north for the right, south for the left hand.  This may be because of the inner nature of the spiritual exercise, or the opposite colors forming on the astral level.

 

    Kedemah means “eastward” and Kedemoth: “beginnings”.

 

    The four directions of Space or Creative powers of the Zodiac are: Aquarius, Matthew; Leo, Mark; Taurus, Luke; Scorpio, John.

 

    The four directions of Space (Rosicrucian) –

 

    East: is the first point on the horizon, and thus the most important point of direction.  It was in the East that man first saw the Symbol of Life, and thus knew that God’s Laws were mechanically and mathematically perfect.

 

    The daily rising of the Sun with infinite exactness, after its period of transition from sunset to the dismal darkness of the North teaches man that life is continuous and immortal, rising again and again in the East.

 

    Here is the new life begun.  Hence comes forth the Glory of God, which is of God.  Here one seeks that Dawn of Illumination and Divine Resurrection, from the dismal darkness of the North, that will make them free from the superstitions of dark, ignorance and the fears of night, (evil).

 

    The East is always respected and saluted as the place of Divine Illumination and Resurrection, and must be so regarded at all times, never to be occupied in a lodge by the profane (that is, unillumined or uninitiated, or the unworthy).

 

    South: is that point where the Sun, source of illumination, shines in the greatest glory and strength, and finds the culmination of its ascendance in the realm of Heaven (spirituality).  Here is where the Divine Mind finds fullest (spiritual) expression, and is occupied in all Lodges by the Chaplain, the spiritual representative of God in His Temple.  From the South come works of prayer and holy blessings in all matters of work and service to God and man.

 

    West:  here the Sun of life slowly resigns itself to the close of its journey, and in radiant splendor, goes to rest in the “arms of the Mother” (peace and quiet).  The West is that point where the aspirant seeks peace and rest, attunement with the Cosmic through silent prayer and meditation.  Here the Mother awaits the coming of her children to welcome them ever to rest and tarry in communion with God.

 

    North:  is the place where the Sun sheds not its glorious Light.  It is the abyss of evil, the valley of death (stagnation), the realm of darkness (ignorance), the force of night (evil).  It is the place from which one desires to come forth, and thus where the Seeker for Light (applicant) dwelleth, or entereth the Lodge to seek more.

 

  

 

The four elements – viii

Elementals or Nature Spirits

 

    In ancient civilizations, Nature spirits were held in the highest esteem, and propitiatory offerings were made to them.  Occasionally, as the result of atmospheric conditions, they became visible.  Some believe the gods worshipped by the pagans were elementals, for some of these invisibles were believed to be of commanding stature and magnificent deportment.

 

    According to Paracelsus, the invisible, spiritual counterpart of visible Nature (composed of the tenuous principles of the visible elements) is inhabited by a host of peculiar beings, to whom was given the name elementals, later termed Nature spirits.  These inhabit worlds of their own, many resembling human beings in shape, but unknown to man, because his undeveloped senses were incapable of functioning beyond the limitations of the grosser elements.

 

    They cannot be destroyed by the grosser elements, such as material fire, earth, air, or water, for they function in a rate of vibration higher than that of earthy substances.  Being composed of only one element or principle (the ether in which they function), they have no immortal spirit and at death merely disintegrate back into the element from which they were originally individualized.

 

    Each species moves only in the element to which it belongs, and neither of them can go out of its appropriate element, which is to them as the air is to us, or the water to fishes, and none of them can live in the element belonging to another class.  To each his own element is transparent, invisible, and respirable, as the atmosphere is to us.

 

    Gnomes or the pygmies belong to earth, the salamanders in fire, the nymphs in water, and the sylphs in air.

 

    Gnomes evolve through the subjective ethereal body of Nature.  These earth spirits work in an element so close in vibratory rate to the material earth, that they have immense power over its rocks and flora, and over the mineral elements in the human and animal kingdoms.  Some, like the pygmies, work with the stones, gems, and metals, and are supposed to be the guardians of hidden treasures.

 

    Besides the pygmies, there are other gnomes who are called tree and forest sprites.

 

  When gnomes are laboring with animals their work is confined to the tissues corresponding with their own natures, and with the bones, which belong to the mineral kingdom.

 

    Gnomes are of various sizes, most of them much smaller than human beings, though some of them have the power of changing their stature at will.  This is because of the extreme mobility of the element in which they function.  One must never betray them, but if their confidence is won, they are faithful friends.

 

    Paracelsus said, “Man lives in the exterior elements, and the Elementals live in the interior elements.”

 

    It is also said that gnomes and pygmies are usually ill-humored and cross; just as well to leave them alone, though sometimes they become very good friends of man, and may show him hidden treasures and mines.

 

    Undines and nymphs function in the invisible, spiritual essence called humid (or liquid) ether.  In its vibratory rate this is close to the element water, so the undines are able to control to some degree the course and function of this fluid in Nature.

 

    Beauty is their keynote, symmetry and grace, usually female in symbolism, as water.  They are said to resemble the goddesses of Greek statuary; their work is with the vital essences and liquids in plants, animals, etc.  They include water nymphs, mermaids, etc.

 

    Are rather emotional, friendly to humans, and capable of assuming the appearance of normal humans and associating with men.

 

    Salamanders are the spirits of fire, who live in that attenuated, spiritual ether which is the invisible fire element of Nature.  Without them material fire cannot exist, nor any spark given off to start a fire without the assistance of a salamander, who immediately appears evoked by friction.

 

    Man is unable to communicate successfully with them owing to the fiery element in which they dwell, for all that comes into their presence is resolved to ashes.  By special preparations of herbs and incense the vapors which arose were especially suited as a medium for their expression, who borrowing the ethereal effluvium from the incense smoke, were able to make their presence felt.

 

    Salamanders are varied in size, appearance, and dignity.  Some appeared visible as small balls of light, as fiery balls, or tongues of fire, running over the fields or peering into houses.  It is sometimes said they are ugly, and it is best to have nothing to do with them.

 

    They were strongest and most powerful of elementals, and could be dangerous.  Sages were warned to keep away from them.  They work through the emotional nature by means of body heat, liver and blood stream.  They influence fiery or tempestuous temperament.

 

    Sylphs or sylvans lived in the element of air, not the natural atmosphere, but the invisible, intangible, spiritual medium - an ethereal substance similar in composition to our atmosphere, but far more subtle.  The air is used by them as the water or sea to us.

 

    They modeled snowflakes and gathered clouds, with the help of undines.  They live among the clouds and on the tops of mountains.  They have all the senses in much greater perfection, as the air is purer.  They are the highest of the elementals, their element being of the highest vibratory rate.

 

    They are the fairies and elves, mirthful, changeable, and eccentric.  They labor with the gases of the human body and indirectly with the nervous system, where their inconsistency appears.  They are nomadic, invisible but ever-present powers in the intelligent activity of the universe, are said to be of an agreeable nature, but their friendship cannot be relied upon.

 

    Their leader is named Paralda, who dwells on the highest mountain of the earth.

 

    Leader of the salamanders is a flaming spirit called Djin.  (to be avoided)

 

    Rules of the undines is Necksa, whom is loved and honored.

 

    Gnomes have a revered king called Gob (hence goblins).

 

    Elementals are subhuman in their rational intelligence, but from their functions – limited to one element – has resulted a specialized type of intelligence far ahead of man in those lines of research peculiar to the element in which they exist.

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